Norway Identifies Up To 20 New Areas for Offshore Wind Development
Norwegian authorities today identified broad new areas offshore that they believe can be used to dramatically expand the country’s renewable energy generation. The initiative which involved a wide selection of government agencies outlined the areas and is calling for further study to designate the most suitable areas that could be developed in support of the country’s goal for the development of 30 GW of offshore wind energy generation.
“Together with several directorates and specialist communities, we have identified 20 sea areas with good wind resources, where the conflicts of interest between the environment, fisheries, and other industries are relatively low. These are areas along the entire coast, from Skagerak in the south to the Barents Sea in the north,” said Kjetil Lund, watercourses and energy director for Norway's Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE). “These sea areas should now be investigated in more detail to find the areas that are best suited for offshore wind.”
The areas outlined today hold the potential for Norway to nearly double its power production. Depending on the portion of the sites that would move forward for development, they said that these sites could be equivalent to nearly three-quarters of the country’s current energy generation.
Today’s announcement comes just a month after Norway outlined two new offshore wind locations and set a goal to launch the tender for those sites later this year and in 2024. Two of the sites announced today are adjacent to the lease areas outlined in March and as such the energy authority believes they could be developed as extensions to those projects. Saying that opportunities had been identified for capacity expansion at those locations the energy authority believes that these two sites could be allocated in 2025.
The other 18 sites will require more in-depth impact assessments to confirm the belief that the conflicts between the environment, fisheries, and other industries are low. Lund said that the 18 new areas should be investigated in more detail considering aquaculture, fisheries, environmental interests, petroleum, and shipping.
“We don't have a final decision today on how much offshore wind will be built and where,” said Lund during his briefing. “We will need further studies on environmental and business interests, but also on economics, effects on the power system, and the need for grids. In that process, it is conceivable that some areas will be reduced or eliminated.”
The energy authority worked with the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, and Defense Construction in identifying the target sites. In addition, the Petroleum Safety Authority, the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research, Statnett, the Aviation Safety Authority, the Meteorological Institute, the National Communications Authority, and Avinor were also consulted.
NVE has developed a plan for the investigation of the sites. Based on the time required to finalize the plan with other authorities and implement the research, Norway does not expect it will be possible to allocate any of these 18 sites in 2025. Timing for these additional locations will be developed based on the results of the study program.